Malaysian student follows father’s footsteps in America

Kuek Kheng Hong
Age: 21
Home: Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Major: Accounting
Hobbies: Sports, mostly soccer
Favorite Saying: “My family is the reason for my presence here.”

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Kuek Kheng Hoeng decided to study abroad to follow in his father’s footsteps. Like his father, Hoeng is an accounting major attending school in the United States.

Hoeng is in his sophomore year of college at the Singapore Institution of Management. He had to choose between studying abroad in England, Australia or the United States.

After deliberating with his family, he chose the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“It’s all based on my father,” Hoeng said. “He used to study here many years ago and encouraged me to go.”

Hoeng is originally from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, near the border with Singapore. With Singapore’s world-renowned education system, the decision to go to college in another city was no big deal.

Now, going to college in another city means something entirely different. Hoeng has been in Lincoln for the last six months and plans to remain here throughout the summer and next school year.

Hong said his experience so far has been full of ups and downs, with a new challenge presenting itself each week. The first one was homesickness.

“I miss my hometown and my mom’s cooking,” he said. “Of course, it’s been hard to be away from my family.”

This family includes his parents, a grandmother, an older sister and five dogs. He keeps in touch via FaceTime.

Another obstacle for Hoeng has been making American friends. Since he lives in apartment-style dorms and not a traditional residence hall, the only Americans he really interacts with are his three roommates. Although they’ve quickly become friends, he said, the language barrier sometimes makes it hard to communicate.

“I have to say ‘sorry’ a lot of the time and ask them to repeat things,” he said. “Sometimes it’s embarrassing to ask again or they will say ‘OK, just let it go.’”

The positives have truly outweighed the negatives, however, Hoeng said. He has loved getting to know the Nebraska culture, including Husker football games and Runzas.

“I just had a good feeling to come,” he said. “I really like it here and have never regretted the choice.”

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